I’m grateful for so much great advice on this forum, so hopefully I’m paying it forward at least a little in this report. I’ll just mention restaurants and hotels that were memorably good or bad, and try to mention travel details that weren’t in the guidebooks. DH, DD and I flew into Dublin on May 17 on Aer Lingus for a 2 ½ week trip. We chose Dublin because of good ticket prices and excellent proximity to North Wales. The plane was an older Airbus but service, movie choices and personal space were just fine and better than some service received lately on U.S. carriers. Taxied to the Dublin Ferry Port (L50). Public bus would have been cheaper but we didn’t want the bleary hassle. We chose the ferry because we wanted to start our driving loop in Holyhead and the simplicity of ferry travel was appealing compared to getting on yet another flight. We took the 8:30 Ulysses ferry to Holyhead, booking a reasonable cabin with 2 single beds, couch and bath w/shower. Generally DH sleeps well on the plane but the rest of us usually need a long nap. The ferry rolls a little bit and there is the low sound of the engine humming but none of that was significant for sleeping. And we always carry earplugs. We were a little worried about ‘oversleeping’ but there are loud general announcements as you near port. We hit Anglesey more refreshed and ready to go around noon.
At Holyhead there is a small main terminal with one window for Hertz. We booked an automatic since it was our first time driving on the left. Thank you to all on the forum who gave thoughtful advice on this topic. Once outside small Holyhead you’re in the countryside, so it was a good place to start. DH is a confident driver and we’ve rented cars many times in Europe so we were up to the challenge. The first 30 minutes or so were a little rough, so glad we had decided to drive a short distance the first day. In the entire trip we only turned into the wrong lane a couple of times. Non-highway roads in Wales can be narrow and winding, frequently with no shoulder and sometimes with hedges and trees just beside the road, reminding DH at times of driving in Ireland. The smaller lanes can be intense. Drivers are courteous and roads are well-signed.
We stayed at Blackthorn Farm near Holyhead, a comfortable, friendly B&B with fantastic breakfast. The family room was reasonably priced, ample and just right for three of us. Blackthorn is very near South Stack.. We spent several hours there enjoying the amazing views over the Irish Sea, Ellin’s Tower nature center, walking the trails on the coast, and grabbed a hearty lunch at the visitor’s center. BTW most major sights had surprisingly good cafes that were a timesaver. That evening we ate at the Black Seal at Treaddur Bay. It was cool and windy so the beach was almost empty, but it was a pretty sight from the restaurant. The Black Seal serves trendy food decently prepared.